- Russian Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov Held a Teleconference.
- Lukashenko agreed to the constitutional reforms.
- A second meeting in September will have more defined parameters for this year and going forward.
Russian president Vladimir Putin and the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, held an official meeting in Sochi on Monday. The closed talks between the presidents of the two nations lasted almost five hours. Lukashenko’s visit to Sochi brought a lot of attention, not only from the former Soviet Bloc but also the West.
After the presidential election that ended more than a month ago, Belarus has been engulfed in protests and turmoil. Lukashenko is under pressure, both inside the country by those who disagree with the results of the vote, and by neighbors from all sides who are trying to take advantage of the situation.
In fact, there is interference in the internal affairs of Belarus. Additionally, the US and EU have not recognized Lukashenko as a legitimate president of Belarus. Russian President Putin is one of the few leaders who officially congratulated Lukashenko on his victory, repeatedly expressed support for him, and invited him to Russia for talks on the fate of further integration.
Integration has been a topic of discussion since Putin became the President of Russia. Therefore, it would have been now for close to 20 years. Given the current situation in Belarus, Lukashenko has no choice but to seek the full support of Russia to remain in power.
Putin’s Press Secretary, Dmitry Peskov, held a teleconference to provide information on the talks’ progress and a synopsis. Nevertheless, there are certain details that were omitted and highly likely would never be released. Peskov stated that Putin once again supported his Belarusian counterpart against the background of the ongoing protests in the country.
It should be noted that during the press conference, the question was posed, “does the Kremlin think that Lukashenko lacks legitimacy?” Peskov answered directly, “Alexander Grigoryevich is the legitimate President of the Republic of Belarus and President Putin’s counterpart in international relations.”
The main areas of discussions were focused on the political and economic spheres. Lukashenko agreed with Putin to carry out the constitutional reform within a year. There will be economic cooperation, including the return of trade turnover, and the creation of links not only along state lines, but also directly between enterprises.
Furthermore, Russia is not worried about the return of the $1.5 billion to Belarus. Putin believes that Belarus is aligned with Russia, and the funds are needed for the nation itself.
The Discussion Consensus:
- Putin and Lukashenko agreed to integrate the transport links and to start rebuilding the roads.
- Putin drew attention to the fact that all Russian military personnel will be returned to their places of deployment after the end of the exercises in Belarus.
- The issues of oil and gas supplies were discussed, and the result of the discussion was constructive.
- The agreements pertaining to the continuation of contacts and preparation for the forum of regions of the two countries at the end of September.
Overall, the discussion topics were as expected. The security angle discussion topic and agreement has not been released to the public. The second meeting in September will have more defined parameters for this year and going forward.